Urban cool meets American gourmet at this latest eatery on Bedford Street’s restaurant row

Hudson Grille

Right in the heart of Bedford Street’s restaurant row you can now find Hudson Grille, the picture of urban chic. This place is gorgeous and stylish—huge and cavernous, but thanks to the design, welcoming and friendly. It’s all dark wood, mirrors and stone-faced pillars, accented with heavy gold drapes to separate areas and give the space substance and charm. Seating options are numerous: high tables and stools with backs, comfy banquettes or leather chairs trimmed with studded nails.

Dark wood, mirrors and stone-faced pillars give the space a chic vibe

Be sure to look up: The textured tray ceiling painted in a calming shade of gold is softly lighted around its perimeter. Hanging from the ceiling are crystal chandeliers, encased in metal globes, traditional meeting mod in a most unusual and pleasing way. The star of the restaurant is the bar, centered mid space, huge, circular and visible from all points through its glass back. On the shelves is the usual array of bar fare, but make no mistake, there are lots of high-end offerings of vodka, Scotch, bourbon and tequila that make it the place to impress clients or a new love.

But since you can’t eat ambience, we stopped looking around and concentrated on the menu, which resembles its sister Hudson Grille, a popular place that opened in White Plains two years ago. Whether you are there for lunch or dinner, the menus are similar, divided into starters, salads, sandwiches and burgers, entrées, sides and, of course, dessert. Bring your appetite; the servings are huge. Two starters are more than enough for some.

Speaking of starters, we have three favorites and we honestly cannot pick the one that tops our list. The mac ‘n’ cheese is pure decadence: rich and buttery with a touch of smokiness, thanks to the Jim Beam and bacon. For a bit of kick, they’ve added a hint of jalapeños. Then there’s the Hudson Pizza, with a crust reminiscent of the Three Little Bears, not too thin, not too thick, just right. The addition of roasted cipollinis is brilliant, since these tiny, flat onions are sweeter than garden-variety onions but not too sweet to be off-putting. Joining the little onions are bacon, gorgonzola, aged balsamic and a scattering of arugula on top to balance the fat, cut the richness, and make it easy for you to reach for another slice. The third not-to-be missed starter is the St. Louis ribs—four meaty, fall-off-the-bone beauties that might be too sweet for some, but right-on target for this style of rib. To balance the sweetness, a salad of spicy greens and green apples, dressed with a light ginger vinaigrette, creates a perfect marriage. A bite of rib, a bit of salad. Perfection.

Mac ‘n’ cheese with Jim Beam, smoked bacon and roasted jalapeños

One of our visits fell on a cool autumn day, so onion soup beckoned. This was terrific, although we would like a tad less salt. The serving is huge, more than enough to make a meal out of it, with just a slice or two of bread. The crab cakes needed a little less binding and more crab, but were flavorful. And the mussels—where, oh where, was the broth? The sauce, although tasty enough, did not satisfy as much as a flavorful broth to dunk our bread into, an important part of any mussel experience.

As for the mains, we narrowed our favorite to a trio again. We had to try the burger, since it sports the restaurant’s name. It arrived medium-rare, just as ordered. And it looked so cute, sitting on a white rectangular plate accompanied by a parchment-lined hammered silver bucket overflowing with hand-cut French fries. Topping the sweet brioche roll was a spear of a small pickle and cherry pepper half. Both the pickle and pepper were sweet and spicy; this garnish is meant to be eaten. We ordered the burger with everything included, even though I am not a fan of mayonnaise. But this bacon aioli made a convert of me. The caramelized onions and classic French Comte cheese added to the sheer enjoyment of this very filling selection. Our lighter-fare favorites included the grilled salmon, a generous serving of teriyaki-glazed fish with a mélange of vegetables that added interest to the plate, and the lobster cobb salad with champagne vinaigrette, because, well, anything that mixes lobster and champagne is tops.

Teriyaki-glazed grilled salmon with seasonal vegetables

On all visits, there was little room for dessert, so we only tried one, crème brûlée topped with slivered orange zest and coconut crust. It was delicious, though the custard was cold. Room temperature would have been so much more appealing. What I loved was the attention to detail: I am a tea drinker, and the quirkier the tea the better. When I asked for tea, I was asked what kind I liked, and I said herbal decaf. So instead of a basket filled with teas I would never drink, I was presented with a choice of three, any of which I would enjoy—and did.

If you go at night, be aware that a deejay takes over the back dining room on weekends beginning Thursday, after 10:30 p.m. (Makes you wish for a four-day work week.)

This brings me to my last observation: One of my dining companions was hard-of-hearing, but here, probably because of the acoustics installed for late-night music, he could hear everything I said. This was a first. On this visit we were also sitting toward the front of the restaurant, and the large doors were open, exposing us to the noise from the street. It could have been a noisy distraction. This was not the case. Kudos to the sound guys.                                              

Hudson Grille

128 Bedford Street

Cuisine: American

11:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m.   
Sun., 11:30 a.m.–4 a.m.

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